Can’t Stop Watching: Amber Riley Dazzles on DWTS, ‘Girls’ Casts First Black Female & More

by | September 17, 2013 at 5:30 PM | Black Entertainment, Can't Stop Watching, Dancing With The Stars, Ellen, Fall TV 2013, Girls, Glee, HBO, Sleepy Hollow


Derek Hough and Amber Riley (Photo: ABC)

Amber Riley shows out on “Dancing With the Stars” Did you see “Glee’s” Amber Riley doing her thing on “Dancing With the Stars”last night? Girlfriend can move! She looked absolutely beautiful and her Cha-cha-cha was so flawless that judge Bruno Tonioli exlaimed, “You are the tigress of Season 17.” And as ”The View’s” Sherri Shepherd said today, “She’s representing for the big girls.” (Anyone who doubts that “big girls” can move may not recall Mo’Nique and her plus-sized dancers grooving to Beyonce’s hits at the 2004 and 2007 BET Awards shows) We all know Riley can sing, I mean, did you see her belting out “I Will Always Love You” a la Whitney Houston on “Glee”?! And we know she can act. With her dancing skills, this makes her a triple-threat. Riley said dancing for her was a “dream deferred” because her family could only afford singing lessons. “I’m a big girl, I’m not small. But I think that it would be good for young girls to see someone my size actually actively trying to dance and throwing this weight around,” Riley chuckles. You know what, Amber, it’s good for older girls too, because you’ve truly inspired me to take a few dancie lessons. See why Riley got a standing ovation last night.


Here’s other news that I found inspiring.

This is a story that truly made me smile. On Monday, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” guest 19-year-old James Ward shared his incredible story about going from homeless high schooler to Howard University freshman. Ward along with his mother and younger siblings lived in a homeless shelter located in a very sketchy California neighborhood. While Ward’s mom provided the necessary support for him to get the grades to gain acceptance to Howard, it’s his mentor, Jessica Sutherland, who’s making sure he has the money to stay there. Sutherland, who had been a homeless teen too, launched “The James Fund” to help raise money for his his college expenses.  A-list celebs also pitched in. Ward and Sutherland are starting a nonprofit to assist the more than 1 million homeless children in the public school system. Ward’s advice for struggling teens and adults: “No matter how embarrassed you feel there’s always someone out there who is willing to help you.” Wow! I agree with Ward; no matter where we are in life there may be times when we’ll need assistance.  As Ellen DeGeneres pointed out, Ward “is wise beyond his years!”


Nicole Beharie shines in “Sleepy Hollow” Just as I suspected, “Sleepy Hollow” turned out to be a hit! The show earned Fox its highest-rated fall drama premiere in six years. Ten million viewers (myself included) tuned in for this mystery-adventure based on the Washington Irving classic.  And I’m pretty sure Nicole Beharie, who stars as Lieutenant Abbie Mills, Ichabod Crane’s only ally, gained a few new fans as well.  Beharie is a good actress and really shines as the female lead.  People have long voiced their concerns about the lack of positive, empowering portrayals of black women in media. With Mills -an intelligent and skilled Sheriff’s deputy with aspirations of becoming an FBI agent - along with “Scandal’s” Olive Pope and a few others, it seems that their prayers are being answered. It’s unclear whether this role was written with a black female lead in mind but we’re glad they went that route.


“Girls”finally casts a sista on the show Speaking of voicing concerns about black women on TV,  HBO’s “Girls” will cast its first black character. Danielle Brooks, star of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” has been tapped for the popular show, she told And she’s already shot an episode of the show.  “I will be the first [b]lack woman to be on ‘Girls,’ so that’s exciting for me,” Brooks said.  Brooks isn’t the first black person to be cast on the show. Last season, Donald Glover starred as Hannah’s boyfriend Sandy. And there may be another black female character joining her. “Jezebel” notes “that earlier this year, Lena Dunham Instagrammed a picture of  ”Daily Show” correspondent Jessica Williams ‘getting powdered and primped on the set of #girls.’” Hmm, I wonder what Dunham and HBO has in store? I pray it doesn’t cause Black Twitter to explode.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.